Monday, 19 November, 2018

Na ends drought with 5-shot win at Greenbrier

Kevin Na Na's only previous PGA Tour victory was the 2011 Shriners Hospitals Open
Rita Gibson | 11 July, 2018, 21:43

Korean-American Kevin Na won the Military Tribute at The Greenbrier tournament on Sunday to claim his second career PGA victory. "When I won (in 2011), it took me eight years to win, I said, 'It's not going to take me eight years to win the second one.' It took me seven".

"Today I kept within myself", Na said. "I've been close so many times, failed so many times". Most top fives, most top 10s without a win ... whatever it is.

Na fired six birdies in a seven-hole stretch around the turn on his way to a six-under 64 at West Sulphur Springs, pulling him clear of overnight joint-leader Kelly Kraft and the chasing pack. The only blemish on his card was a bogey on the par-4 11th after driving into the rough.

Na finished at 19-under 261 and picked up the $1.31 million winner's paycheck.

They went back to the 18th tee for the playoff, and Knox pitched from 131 yards to virtually the same spot on the green. Simpson's second-round 67 on Friday left him two shots off the lead, and Kokrak emerged from the pack after carding 64 to hold down fourth place, three shots behind Kraft.

Harold Varner birdied four of the last eight holes to fire a four-under par 66 and seize a share of the lead after Saturday's third round of the US PGA Greenbrier Classic.

Na said the win this week did more than just get the proverbial monkey off his back - it provides the 34-year-old a great confidence boost. "The first day the putter felt very bad, and (then) it just clicked".

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"It feels fantastic. I see the record every time on TV - the most top fives, the most top 10s without a win", he told CBS.

By the time he strolled up to the 18th green, Na was at ease, relaying his love to his wife and young daughter via a TV camera. He cried during a television interview after the round as he relayed a message in Korean to his overseas fans.

"I'm playing really well". Each earned a place in the British Open as the leading four players from the top 12 not already eligible. Zander Lombard of South Africa and Andy Sullivan of England earned the other two spots.

Phil Mickelson needed birdies on 17 and 18 to salvage a par round Saturday. That gave the final spot to Austin Cook. Snedeker had a 64 and Kokrak shot 67.

Kraft said his first British Open bid helped take away some of the sting of losing the lead Sunday. Na just caught fire with the putter and nobody else near the top of the leaderboard was making a run. Hee Young Park won a playoff after she and Angela Stanford each finished at 258 in the Manulife Classic in Canada in 2013 (par 71), while Karen Stupples (Arkansas State University) shot 258 at the Welch's/ Fry's Championship in Arizona in 2004 (par 70).

LA ROCHE-SUR-YON, France - A year after leaving the Tour de France in disgrace, Peter Sagan earned the race's yellow jersey Sunday after doing what he does best: Powering past the competition to reach the finish line.

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